Throughout history, the world has seen many leaders, but only the benevolent ones who won the hearts of their people through their numerous outstanding traits and good deeds are considered great, remembered and cherished till today.
Good examples would be King Suleiman ‘The Magnificent’ of the Middle Eastern Ottoman empire who made educational, legislative, and taxation reforms back in the 1500s, Emperor Meiji of Japan who transformed the nation into an industrial powerhouse, and Persian King Cyrus II who actually gave a damn about human rights back in 520BC itself, just to name a few.
These guys were simply jacks of all trades; masters in politics, military warfare, economy, business, and many more.
Similar to the aforementioned rulers, the current ‘king’ of the D-segment in Malaysia – the Honda Accord, has also somewhat won many hearts over the past 41 years with a few of its traits.
In fact, many of those who bought their Accords 20-odd years ago are so in love with them that they are very determined on keeping them until the end of time. Some have even passed them down to their children.
Currently in its ninth generation, the Accord has seen its fair share of ups and downs since the first-gen debuted in 1976. While some versions like the first, second, fourth, and fifth generation models were more popular, later models like the sixth-gen and seventh-generation versions were facing tougher times as the D-segment grew to become one of the most competitive in the market.
Even during the most challenging of times, the Accord managed to remain among the frontrunners thanks to qualities like its reliability and good looks, and after going through a full model change in 2013, it finally managed to knock the Camry off the throne and became the best-selling D-segment sedan.
So, since holding on to the crown requires just as much effort as to attain it, Honda Malaysia, which became the no.1 non-national car brand in 2015 after the City, HR-V, Jazz, and the Civic became best-sellers in their respective segments, gave the Accord a timely update in conjunction with its 40th birthday in an effort to further strengthen its position.
Engine: 2.4-litre, Inline-4 Transverse, DOHC i-VTEC, Petrol
Power: 175PS @ 6,200rpm
Torque: 225Nm @ 4,000rpm
Transmission: 5-speed torque converter automatic, FWD
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX, Electronic Stability Control (VSA), Hill Start Assist, Emergency Stop Signal, Parking Sensors Front & Rear, Multi-Angle Reverse Camera, Lane Watch Camera
Origin: Locally-assembled in Pegoh, Malacca
Similar to the pre-facelift model, the Honda Accord is offered in three trim levels:
- Accord 2.0 VTi – RM144,800
- Accord 2.0 VTi-L – RM153,800
- Accord 2.4 VTi-L – RM172,800
The exterior has gone through some tweaks, just like the interior, and a few new features have been added as well. Mechanically, the Accord has not changed, retaining the same 2.4-litre Earth Dreams i-VTEC engine and 5-speed automatic gearbox package.
The big news with the car however, is that the price of the range-topping 2.4 VTi-L, which happens to be the car we tested, has been slashed by RM5,400 to RM172,800 despite having a couple of new features like the new LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
And now that the price has dropped, this is how it stands against offerings from other brands in terms of pricing (OTR without insurance):
- Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L – RM172,800
- Toyota Camry Hybrid 2.5 Luxury – RM169,900
- Nissan Teana 2.5 XV – RM167,500
- Mazda 6 2.5 Sedan SkyActiv – RM194,647
- Kia Optima GT 2.0L Turbo – RM179,888
- Volkswagen Passat 1.8 TSI Plus Comfortline – RM185,927
- Ford Mondeo 2.0L EcoBoost – RM200,388
- Peugeot 508 THP – RM173,888
- Proton Perdana 2.4L – RM138,888
New features on the Accord includes a new front grille, new bumpers; new LED lights up front and in the rear, new two-tone black and silver rims, more chrome bits than before, and three new colours including this ‘Obsidian Blue’, and exclusive to the 2.4 VTi-L are the full LED lights and the 18-inch wheels.
The exterior changes might be minute but they are enough to make the car look sportier than the ‘saggy butt’ pre-facelift model.
In fact, the updates on the Accord make it look a lot like the Civic now, which is a good thing as it would appeal to the younger crowd as well as the uncles who are young at heart.
As far as the measurements are concerned:
If we are to compare it with the rest of the horde, the Accord now stands among the sportier looking models in the segment along the Mazda 6, Kia Optima GT, and the VW Passat. Size wise, the Accord remains one of the longest cars in the segment, second only to the 5-metre long Perdana (which also happens to be the eighth-gen Accord underneath). It is also one of the widest and the lowest.
So, whether the Accord’s looks appeals to you or not depends on what rocks your boat. If you’re looking for an executive sedan that oozes with athleticism, this car will tickle you in the right places. But if you are into something that looks more conservative, you might want to go for the Camry, Teana, or the Sonata.
Inside, the cabin layout has not changed much but there has been a couple of subtle yet significant changes.
There is a new wood and piano black trim that runs across the dashboard, door panels and the centre console. The instrument panel has also been redesigned with a new background and font. Thanks to these new features, the Accord’s cabin is now more pleasant to the eye and feels a tad plusher.
The two-screen layout on the centre-stack remains, but the infotainment system has been updated. There is MirrorLink function, HDMI connectivity, WiFi hotspot functionality, as well as Android Auto and Apple Car Play. However, there is no more satellite navigation.
Honda Malaysia said that the move to remove GPS and include Android Auto / Apple Car Play was made after its market studies showed that a large percentage of motorists depend more on their smartphones to find their way around than their car’s OEM sat-nav system.
The infotainment system was quite seamless and user friendly too. Pairing could be done in no time, and accessing music and making calls could be done as we wished without having to touch the phone.
Another thing that has changed is the audio control buttons, which are now integrated into the 7-inch display, translating into more storage space below the air-cond control – large enough to fit a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to be precise.
Besides the above, the list of standard equipment on the Accord 2.4 VTi-L has been carried over from before, comprising push-start ignition, Honda’s LaneWatch system, paddle shifters, auto-dim rear-view mirror, 8-way powered driver seat with lumbar support, rear air-cond vents, powered rear sunshade, and a subwoofer.
Thanks to Honda’s ‘Man Maximum, Machine Minimum’ design philosophy, the ninth-gen Accord’s rear legroom is now 35.5mm longer even though the car is smaller than the previous generation model.
Besides the additional leg space, boot space has also increased by 23-litres to 461-litres. Complemented by the new, high-quality material and the Active Noise Control (ANC) system which reduces engine noise, the Accord’s cabin is one of the quietest in class.
Quiet, refined, and spacious it may be but the Accord isn’t the most comfortable D-segment contender unfortunately. When it comes to hugging our butts and backs, the Teana still reigns supreme.
Mechanically, the Accord 2.4 has not changed from the pre-facelift model, meaning that the Earth Dreams Technology (EDT) twin-cam i-VTEC engine and the 5-speed automatic gearbox have been carried over lock, stock and barrel.
Unlike the previous-generation’s K24 engine which requires you to work it hard to get it going at low revs, the EDT mill feels smoother and livelier. However, as quick as it is, power delivery lacks refinement, (no) thanks to the aging 5-speed automatic gearbox.
We have no complains about its performance, though. It is anything but slow or sluggish. Even with four occupants and a trunk full of junk, the 2.4-litre Accord is capable of going way above the speed limit with ease. It’s just that it lacks the finesse you get in a Mazda 6 or the Passat.
Staying true to its lineage, the Accord remains one of the nicer cars to drive in the D-segment. Although the steering lacks weight, the well-balanced chassis, the suspension which is setup to be slightly on the firmer side, as well as all the grip provided by the 18-inch Michelin PS3 tires make the Accord quite an enjoyable car to drive along twisty bits. There is still body-roll, but the car doesn’t feel as ‘boat-y’ as the Teana or the Camry.
As enjoyable as it was to drive it, the Accord is still not as composed and responsive as the Mazda 6, but it is not too far behind.
Further adding to the whole experience are features like Honda’s Lanewatch, which is basically a camera positioned below the left wing-mirror that projects the blind spot on the left side of the car everytime the left signal is turned on.
Besides letting us know what is lurking in the blind spot, the Lanewatch feature also adds to convenience as it gives us better visibility in the rain and the dark.
The Accord is basically a jack of all trades, but we can’t say that it is a master of none because it has many features that make it a crowd-favourite, namely the spacious and well-built cabin, the sporty looks, as well as the driving dynamics.
Although the car already felt well-rounded before the facelift, Honda managed to make it a better package by slashing the price by about RM5,000 despite the few updates.
And regardless of which aspect you want to judge the Accord from, it will either be among the best, or at least above average, which is exactly what brought it to the top of the D-segment.